Representative Nick Sauer (R-IL) has resigned after his ex-girlfriend accused him of posting nude photographs of her online to catfish other men. Authorities have confirmed that the woman filed a police report as well as a complaint with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General.
Sauer’s indiscretions were first reported by Politico, which revealed that Sauer had created “a fake Instagram account and populating it with nude photos of her to lure men into ‘graphic’ discussions.”
Sauer tendered his resignation earlier this afternoon, saying he stepped down “as a result of the allegations by Kate Kelly, a former girlfriend.”
House Republicans, including state House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, had called for Sauer’s resignation from the moment the allegations went public.
“The allegations that have come forth against Representative Nick Sauer are troubling. He will be resigning from office today. We should allow the proper authorities to conduct their investigations,” said Durkin in a statement.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, himself a Republican, concurred, saying, “He should resign. And my understanding is that he’s going to resign and that’s the right thing for him to do.”
Kelly, 38, called 311 on July 12 to report the allegations, saying that her ex-boyfriend — whom she did not name — had created a fake Instagram account using her identification. She added that her ex-boyfriend used the account to post sexually explicit photographs of her, that she sent him the photographs over a two-year period, and that she only learned of the Instagram account’s existence after someone alerted her on social media. The report does not describe the photographs. It does note, however, that her former boyfriend asked her to “participate in the acts depicted.” Shortly afterward, a police source said, a detective was assigned to investigate the case but it does not appear he followed up.
The report is listed as “sex offense-obscenity materials (consisting of lewd writing, pictures, pornographic materials, etc. – with a predominant appeal to prurient interest – not involving children.)” It has not been classified as “revenge porn”––also known as “sextortion”––in which private sexual images are disseminated without the individual’s consent. The report can be reclassified pending further review. Pat Quinn, the former Illinois governor, in 2014 signed legislation making a “revenge porn” classification a felony offense, punishable by up to one to three years in prison with a fine of up to $25,000.
In a rather ironic twist, Sauer served on the state’s sexual harassment task force and is, at the urging of state Senators Melinda Bush and Jil Tracy, likely to be removed. Bush released an official statement condemning Sauer’s actions. It reads, in part:
I want to first thank Kate Kelly for her bravery in speaking out against the sexual harassment she endured by Rep. Nick Sauer. This is exactly why I fought for the creation of the Joint Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, so we could give victims a safe space to come forward and so we can take the necessary steps to change the culture in Springfield and eliminate sexual harassment.
The allegations against Rep. Sauer, which I believe are true, goes beyond harassment and crosses the line between predatory and criminal. We passed the so-called “revenge porn” law in 2015 to make these kinds of non-consensual releases of private sexual images a felony offense in Illinois…
Early this morning, I personally reached out to Sen. Jil Tracy (R – Quincy), the co-chair of the joint task force on sexual harassment to ask for Rep. Sauer to be immediately removed from this task force. And unless Rep. Sauer has credible evidence to address the accusations against him, I believe he should immediately resign from his position as state representative.
Sauer, a first-term lawmaker, has not yet been charged with a crime.